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Cops Found Roughly 100 Damaged Gravestones at Philadelphia Jewish Cemetery

The vandalism comes a week after police made a similar discovery at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri and Jewish community centers around the country reported receiving bomb threats.

by Lauren Messman
Feb 27 2017, 4:56pm

Photo by Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

On Sunday, Philadelphia police discovered around 100 toppled gravestones at the Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery, just one week after roughly 170 gravestones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri, the New York Times reports.

Police responded to the scene Sunday morning after receiving a complaint from a man who said that three of his relatives' headstones had been knocked over. They discovered that about 100 gravestones had been vandalized in total, but weren't ready to disclose whether or not they had a suspect in mind or had identified a motive. 

The Philadelphia mayor and the Pennsylvania governor have already condemned the incident, as well as local Jewish leaders. According to the Times, advocacy groups are offering a combined pool of $13,000 for anyone who might have information regarding the vandalism.

"We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. "Hate is not permissible in Philadelphia."

Last Monday, 11 Jewish community centers around the country reported receiving bomb threats before police found roughly 170 damaged headstones at a Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri, though it's not clear if the threats were connected to the vandalism. Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim activist, launched a fundraiser in response to the Missouri vandalism and has raised $130,000 as of Monday, the Washington Post reports

Naomi Adler, the chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, has launched her own fundraiser to raise money to clean up the damage at Mount Carmel, estimating that it will cost between $450 and $500 to repair each headstone. 

"It's horrific," Alder told the Times. "It's a desecration of a sacred Jewish space."